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I don’t know how many of you kenw this..

I have recently completed my Masters in Digital Marketing from Trinity College Dublin. As many digital marketers follow this blog, I thought I should write an article about whether the masters in digital marketing was worth it or not. Please note, everything that I will mention in this article are my opinions. You are to take that decision at the end of the day anyways and there are too many variables when it comes to taking a decision like doing a MSc in a foreign country.

It was back in 2017, I just finished my Bachelor in Marketing from Dhaka, Bangladesh. I was doing well with Passive Journal. I didn’t really need a job, so I didn’t need a degree to prove to anyone that I ‘know my stuff’.

Life was good.

However, by the end of 2017, I started to get bored of myself. You see, I always ran Passive Journal as a side hustle till then (I was studying as a full time student when I started Passive Journal back in June, 2016). This was the first time in my life when I had the opportunity to run my business and do nothing else.

I chose not to.

Here’s why.

I wanted to explore Europe and doing a MS was the easiest way to make it happen.

You see, life of a third world country digital marketer is a lot different than those of you who follow this blog. If I wanted to travel around Europe from Bangladesh, I had to come to do a tour every other month from there. We all hate long flights and it would have been fun to get a MS degree in the meantime, too.

I will be honest. I got effected by the peer pressure too.

Families in Asia have this tendency of focusing on degree (not education) and even the young minds are not free from that school of thought. Even in 2019, most students in Bangladesh study what they study because they either have seen someone else studying that and doing well in life or their parents wanted it for them.

I am getting off-tracked.

Everyone in family wanted me to do my MSc. I am not one of those types who always listens to their family but I did. Because I wanted the same thing, in the back of my mind.

I wanted to do a MSc to stand out from the crowd and if I had to do it in one subject, it would obviously be digital marketing, right?

So I chose to do my Masters in Digital marketing.

Trinity College is world’s #1 ranked university when it comes to a masters in Digital marketing, so it was a no brainer for me. Ireland is not a popular destination for students in Bangladesh. It is far, it is cold and it is in the middle of nowhere.

Most people still think that Ireland is a part of UK.

But yes, I got on an Emirates plane, booked a stay with Homestay and moved here. My journey with Trinity has officially begun on September 21st, 2017.

Is Masters in Digital Marketing Worth It?

Now, once again, these are only my thoughts and I am basing everything based on what I have experienced. It is far from the absolute facts, so I recommend you do your own research. But here’s what I have understood.

Learning Experience

Trinity is great and I don’t think there’s a better university out there to learn things. The history is there, the professors know what they are doing and everyone is academic enough to help you get where you want to.

But you got to know what you want to do.

I was already running Passive Journal and I knew enough about SEO & The world of digital marketing. So no, I didn’t learn much during my studies at Trinity. If you are someone who is self-taught, has run his own campaigns on social media and have sold sites on your own, I don’t think a masters in Digital Marketing will help you get better at those.

A Masters in digital marketing is all about understanding marketing and the high level concepts. It is all about those frame works and positioning your campaigns but if you are looking to learn how to setup a Facebook campaign for example or a well-designed website, you are not going to get it here.

I don’t know about other universities but there were students from all variety of backgrounds in Trinity’s program. So I had friends who were engineers, doctors, pharmacists and even journalists and dancers.

They are here for a career change.

So I guess, Trinity had to design the modules in a way so that these students can also learn the basics of digital marketing instead of targeting for people like me.

The Brand Value

Trinity College Dublin holds a very strong brand value in Ireland and across the globe. When I am writing this, Trinity is ranked 82nd among all the universities around the globe and they are #1 in Ireland (some say it is Dublin City University). However, the digital marketing masters program is definitely #1 in all rankings, but there’s a cache here.

There’s not enough digital marketing masters program in the pool to compete against. When I was doing my research, I found that only a few universities across North America, UK, Ireland and Spain offer this course.

Believe it or not, digital marketing is still a new thing in the academic world.

However, the Trinity brand value has definitely helped me and my career. Even today, almost all of my cold outreach emails mention that I am a Trinity graduate, because our potential clients value that.

I have tested it myself and saw that the response rate is much higher when I mention that I am a Trinity graduate.

I can also talk about my friends who graduated with me.

They now work at places like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Tesla & Salesforce. I think about 60-70% of my batch got their jobs within 1-2 months of graduation. Trinity brand value has definitely played a role there because trust me, none of us has learnt much (I might get hate for this line).

Great Professors

This might sound weird. After all, how can you have good professors yet, you end up learning nothing, right?

We had professors from France, from MIT (for the entrepreneurship class), from actual digital marketing agencies and they were all brilliant. They knew their stuff and they knew it better than most of the world.

However, I don’t think it is possible to teach a newbie everything about Google Ads in 2 class who has never opened a MCC account before. It is not the fault of the professors, I consider this the fault of screening and selecting students.

Trinity should have had two different programs and what they taught us in digital marketing should have been taken care of in the regular marketing program. The digital marketing MSc should have been kept for advance strategies and implementations.

However, I don’t think I will be able to have a conversation with any of my professors in Bangladesh about opening a BPO agency or the future of voice SEO at a random bar that I had multiple times with my Trinity professors.

I really liked that experience. The accessibility and the ‘can achieve’ culture is what I appreciate.

Alright, there’s no point in increasing H2 headings on this article. Let me simplify everything for you.

Is a masters in digital marketing worth it for you?

The answer would be yes if:

  • You are interested in doing a MSc and care about a degree
  • If you want that brand value
  • If you have a plan of being a professor later in your career (like I have)
  • If you want to travel around Europe from an Asian country and need a base (I traveled about 9 countries so far in last 12 months).
  • If you want to get an entry level job in the booming IT industry of Dublin (and the rest of the world)

The answer would be no if:

  • You want to learn digital marketing
  • You want to start your own marketing agency (you won’t get enough knowledge from the course to make that happen)
  • You think this will make you a digital marketer

Simple enough?

Considering everything, I still think it was a great decision for me to do the masters in Digital marketing. I don’t believe in formal education though. I am fairly confident that formal education is going to get a hit within 2040 and people won’t be going to colleges anymore. At least, not to learn technical knowledge like digital marketing. Also, the ever changing world of digital marketing does not allow you to get an academic degree from a prestige institute.

It is a piece of paper at the end of the day anyways.

The last line would be, I am happy that I took this decision, based on my circumstances but if your only goal is to learn digital marketing, there are better options out there than taking an academic degree.

What do you think?

The post Masters in Digital Marketing: Is it Worth It? appeared first on Passive Journal.

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In case you didn’t know, I am creating an authority website in 2019 (After a long time). This is update 5. You can find all previous updates on our blog here.

So it finally happened…

It has happened so many times with me before, so I don’t really have an ‘aha moment’. I knew it was going to happen, but it still feels good.

To back-track a little, you already know (if you read the previous updates), that I ordered quite a lot of content (approx 30-35k words). I published all those articles last month and the site made it’s first $ this week.

In total, I have published about 35,000 words so far & here’s what the rankings look like now:

Sorry about blurring the keywords. I don’t want you to copy the topic of my website yet. I will definitely disclose the URL later this year.

In case if you are wondering what solution am I using for keyword tracking, that’s Serpbook. I have always used them and I think they are the best in the business. Rankings get updated every 30 minutes and they are very cheap too (With a free trial).

Anyway, I don’t care which rank tracker you use but make sure that you are using one to track everything.

Now, did I make any money off the site yet?

Of course I did.

Here’s that screenshot for you:

I made about $10.59 in last 7 days with Amazon affiliate program from the site. Amazon has been one of my major monetary methods for all my sites for a very long time and I don’t see a reason for it to be different this time either.

Now, I know $10.59 is nothing but the good news is that I am getting something back (at least) and it is only going to go up from here onward.

What’s the plan now?

Nothing really. I don’t think I will do any search engine optimization for the site till mid this year (June, 2019 perhaps). Till then, I will only be publishing articles. In fact, I have already ordered 50,000 words more from our content service. I should have those articles ready in next 2 months and I will be uploading them as they come.

Here’s what my spending look like till now: 

Here’s what my income looks like now: 

$10.59 so far till Jan 28, 2019

I should also tell you that I don’t think I will be publishing another update anytime soon (unless something amazing happens). There won’t be much to talk about anyways, as it is all about publishing content and tracking their rankings from now on till mid year.

However, I will try to publish a few income reports from time to time, just to keep yourself motivated.

I will really appreciate if you can leave a comment. Thanks

The post Making My First $$ From The New Authority Site (Authority Site Update 5) appeared first on Passive Journal.

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In case you didn’t know, I am creating an authority website in 2019 (After a long time). This is update 4. You can find all previous updates on our blog here.

Content is something which most marketers struggle with. The way we write content naturally, is a lot different than what search engines look for. Also, it is at times, very difficult to come up with long form of content on certain topics, specially if you are not interested or know enough about the topic.

Sometimes, you just don’t have enough time to focus on writing content and sometimes, you are not a native speaker (like me). So you end up producing dog s*it.

Keeping all those in mind, how can we produce quality content for our authority websites in 2019 and beyond?

The rule is fairly straight forward.

Analyze your top 10 competition, see what they are doing and then do a bit extra.

It can be more words per page than your competitor, better image, better structure, quality information, or a combination of everything.

Billions of blogs get published every day on the world wide web & believe it or not, people are not interested in reading another blog post about the same topic when thousands of other ones are already there covering similar information.

Now, I don’t have the exact stats or number to back up this claim, however, I can bet that the number of people reading blog posts are getting reduced year by year. It is still not drastic to worry about, but the number is decreasing.

On the other hand, the number of internet users are increasing, so it is still not impacting the world of bloggers.

But it will.

Unless you have quality information to display on your blog.

Instead of targeting a specific word count or a certain number of articles/month, you have to focus on quality. That’s the only way to compete against videos and audios (the new method of communication) in 2019.

As you already know from Update 2 (read that in case you haven’t), I have ordered around $540 worth of articles for the site I am building from this content service.

I can vouch for our content service (in case if you are looking for a place to order content for your sites). We handpick our writers and we are the best in terms of cost per 1000 words in the industry.

Our in house writers do all of our portfolio website content and we have done quite well with most of those sites. So yes, if you are looking for a place to order content, I would recommend us (biased).

Back to the topic.

So to keep it simple, I am targeting certain topics and covering it as a whole topic for this new website. This of course, doesn’t mean that every article will be of a mammoth 5000+ word count. It will vary and that will largely depend on what the competitors are doing.

Who are the competitors?

The top 10 pages that are currently ranked on page 1 for a certain keyword will be the competitors.

Now, in case if you decide to write content yourself, make sure to focus on these key areas:

Cover a Topic & Not a Keyword

As discussed before, cover a certain topic and not a particular keyword. It doesn’t matter how many times your keyword appear on a page in 2019. Google’s machine learning algorithm is getting smarter and as soon as you cover the topic as a whole, your keyword will get picked by Google.

Of course, don’t completely ignore the keyword. Do the on page SEO basics (more on it on later updates) which will automatically qualify your page for one particular keyword.

Link Out to Quality Resources

Don’t be shy when it comes to linking out to quality resources. As long as they add value to your reader, feel free to link them within the article. Remember, the end goal is always to add value for your readers.

When linking out, try to avoid your direct competitors. A direct competitor is someone who does the exact same thing as you do. It can be the same monetization strategy, the same content production strategy and so on.

Be an ‘Expert’

This is very important, especially in the 2019 SEO world. Google with their infamous medic update, has made it clear that they will always prefer to rank websites that are authority on a certain topic. That makes sense, right?

When you, as a reader want information, who would you rather take it from? A random Tom without any experience or Dr. Smith who had knowledge and expertise in that particular field?

Of course, it’s the later.

Now, expertise can be of different form and Google, in their search quality guideline has clearly mentioned all the types.

What is E.A.T from Google?

E-A-T basically stands for expertise, authority and trust.

According to Google, “Websites or pages without some sort of beneficial purpose, including pages that are created with no attempt to help users, or pages that potentially spread hate, cause harm, or misinform or deceive users, should receive the Lowest rating. For all other pages that have a beneficial purpose, the amount of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) is very important.

Whenever you are building a website, specially a new one in 2019, it is important that you give clear signal to Google about your expertise in that certain topic. Expertise and authority does not have to come from academic knowledge though that can be a big plus. It can also be your personal experience, knowledge of life and of course, you can always take help from an expert of that field (bloggers even go for paying experts to use their credentials on their blog).

Clear Call To Actions

What do you want people to do when they read your article? Is it sending them to a landing page? Is it capturing their information in a cookie? Is it sending them to an Amazon associate link?

Whatever the goal is, make sure that the content is surrounded with enough CTA (call to actions) to support that goal.

If you are interested in capturing leads, make sure to load a pop up (like we do here at Passive Journal), if you are interested in sending people to an affiliate program, product comparison tables always help and so on.

Be Descriptive But Know That People Won’t Read Everything

Don’t take it personally if people don’t end up reading your whole article. Most of them wouldn’t.

Your task is to convert that visitor into a meaningful goal as soon as you can once they land up on your website. As you can imagine, you don’t have much time to convert that traffic from the time of landing. It is less than of a gold-fish.

People also prefer to skim-read now instead of reading a long article. You can imagine from your own experience. How many of you read every single line of this very blog post?

A huge percentage of you actually skimmed through it which is totally fine.

I am not taking it personally, you shouldn’t either.

That will be it for this update. If you read the whole thing, would you mind writing a comment? I will seriously appreciate it.

I will now wait for the content to be delivered and I will be uploading them as soon as I have ’em.

Here’s what my spendings look like till now: 

Here’s what my income looks like now: 

$0 so far

That’s about it for today.

The post How To Write Content For an Authority Website (Authority Site Update 4) appeared first on Passive Journal.

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I am building a new authority website in 2019. Follow along with me. This is the 3rd update of the journey. You can find update 1 here and update 2 here

Ah, another article about keyword research .. right?

I don’t know about you, but I started hating keyword research.

Don’t get me wrong, keyword research is still important if you are a small business and want to find low competitive search terms, but the style of keyword research (for me) has changed over the years.

I used to be that guy back in 2016 who was all about finding the perfect keyword. Finding the best combination of low competition and decent search volume was my thing. But as I grew my experience over the years in the world of internet marketing, I started to question myself.

How important keyword research is, in 2019?

The answer.. It is still fairly important, specially if you are planning to start a small website.

Let’s use a few examples to see what I mean.

I started a website around golf back in 2017. The URL was HonestGolfers.com

The site very quickly grew to $800/month and then I ended up selling the website for $14,000.

If you look at the keyword research that I did for the site, you will very quickly realize that there are primarily two types of keywords that I focused on that website. It is the exact same two types that I talked about in our 2nd update here.

It was all about finding pillar keywords and small single product review keywords.

As I explained what are those keywords in the last update, I am not going to do that again.

For the 2019 website that I am building, the strategy is going to be slightly different.

I am still going to focus a lot on those two types of keywords, but I will have more emphasis on informative keywords.

An informative keyword is a keyword that helps you get quality traffic from search engines but does not result in an affiliate commission. You use other monetization strategies such as display ads to earn from those articles.

That’s where my focus would be for the new site I am building.

Reasons?

  • They are a lot easier to rank for
  • They help when you do outreach
  • Info keyword based articles make your site look like an authority instead of a cheap affiliate trying to earn a few bucks by redirecting people
  • They keep people within your website
  • And there are good alternatives to Adsense now who pays decent money for ads (which wasn’t the case a few years ago)

As I am done with my keyword research for this Authority Site Project, I can tell you that I found at least 100+ keywords that are informative in nature. I also have about 200 affiliate type keywords, but info keywords would be the priority.

What Keyword Research Tool Should I Use

Frankly, it doesn’t matter. You can use anything starting from SEMrush to KW Finder to Keyword Revealer. When you use a keyword research tool, you basically analyze these information:

  • The search volume of a keyword
  • The 10 current results for that keyword on Google (their backlinks, their domain authority and sometimes, their age)

That’s pretty much it.

Fortunately, all keyword research tool in planet does that for you.

You can ignore metrics like keyword difficulty numbers as those do not make much sense and will vary wildly depending on the tool you are using. 

When I did my keyword research for this project, I tried to ask two questions.

Question 1: Does this keyword fall under one of my keyword types? In other words, is it an affiliate or info keyword?

Question 2: Does this keyword have a search volume of minimum 100/month

If the answer was yes for these two questions, I picked that keyword and if any of them was negative, I ignored.

It is that simple, when you understand the process.

Here’s what my spendings look like till now: 

Here’s what my income looks like now: 

$0 so far

That’s about it. Do you have any questions about keyword research? Let me know in the comment and I will reply.

The post How I Do My Keyword Research in 2019 (Authority Site Update 3) appeared first on Passive Journal.

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In case you didn’t know, I am creating a fresh site in 2019 (started at the end of 2018 to be exact) to make money from it online. Simply trying to go back to the basics once again to have fun. It is a long time since I created a new one, especially in the world of affiliate monetization so it should be fun. The first update is here.

Alright,

So I feel like the first update was a bit rushed and that’s how it will be for the most part of this journey. I don’t think people really read ‘long form posts’ anymore and the lack of comment shows that too.

These are more of my journals (ironic as we call ourself Passive Journal) than being strategic guides for you, but if you take something out from this and implement, that’s awesome too.

Here’s what I did so far. 

I bought a domain & hosting from Namecheap, the site is now live and running. I did my keyword research and the topic of the site revolves around a very common niche.

I can’t say more about the topic at this moment, but I will as soon as we reach $1k/month, I promise. I am just trying to avoid the copy-cats.

Creating a website and making money from it is a very simple process. Here’re the steps:

  1. You create the site
  2. You put content
  3. You rank those content on the 1st page of Google
  4. You earn money with methods like affiliate commissions, advertisements (display ads mostly), info products and etc.

I am done with the 1st one, which was creating the website.

How I Did My Keyword Research For This Project

I used a blatant strategy of keyword research for this project that I never did before. I was wide open and I picked about 300 keywords to target with my content.

Now, I don’t recommend this to all of you and for most parts, it is not possible to choose 300 keywords in a niche unless it is big enough (which most niches are not, unless you pick something wide like sports).

I basically took anything that I think will be ‘content worthy’ for my site. Any keyword that had a search volume of 100-20,000 went into my list.

I picked 3 types of keywords, which were:

  • Pillar affiliate keywords
  • informative keywords
  • Single product keywords
Pillar Affiliate Keywords

These are keywords that have a search volume of 400-4000 / month, they have a modifier at the beginner or at the end that indicates that people use these keywords when they are trying to purchase something.

Example?

Best cat food or cat food review

People only use these sort of keywords (adding best at the top or review at the bottom) when they are interested in purchasing that product.

My plan is to rank content for these keywords and then redirect people to Amazon and get a commission cut from there.

Informative Keywords

These are simple keywords that people search. Example, How to Prepare Green Smoothie.

As long as it has a minimum of 200 search volume, I am going to go for it and I did.

The plan is to rank for some informative keywords and then earn with display ads and also use those informative keywords to do outreach link building later on.

Single Product Keywords

These are keywords that target one specific product. So instead of being best cat food, it becomes royal canin cat food review. They tend to have lower search volume than a pillar affiliate keyword but they are super easier to rank for.

I picked about a 100 of these for this authority site project.

I am not done yet.

I also ordered about 30,000 words of content from this content creation service, for the website. The order looked like this:

  1. 5 Pillar articles (25,000 words in total)
  2. 5 Single product articles (5000 words in total)

Now I admit, I should have also ordered informative keywords, but my plan is to start making some money fast and then re-invest those to order more and more info content.

It is not a static plan, I might change in a few weeks if I see no improvements in terms of rankings once I start publishing the contents.

Here’s what my spendings look like till now: 

Here’s what my income looks like now: 

$0 so far

That’s about it.

I will try to give you updates on what I do with this site, where I go with it and what the spending look like in future. If you are still reading, leave a comment which will encourage me to post regularly.

The post Authority Site Update 2 (Here’s What I Did So Far) appeared first on Passive Journal.

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So it is 2019.

I am building a new authority website, primarily to test myself once again as I haven’t been building a website lately. I will try to give you guys updates once in a while about the site. For now, long story short, I bought the domain, hosting, the site was live and then this happened.

And I started the year with mad hosting issues.

Some of you know (most don’t), after I had my last exit (small 5 figure), I haven’t been building affiliate websites, that was until the end of 2018.

I promised to some of my local students in Bangladesh that I will be building a new website (I previously built one and showed them every step including the URL of that website and then ended up selling the site for 14k, that was HonestGolfers.com). However, i started that site in 2017 and I felt the urge to create a new one as I haven’t been building any since then.

So the hunt began.

I bought the domain on August, 2018 and setup WordPress very quickly (in October). If you know anything about me, you know that I like Namecheap. A lot.

I have been using them for years since my early days and though they haven’t been super fast lately, I still stuck to them, thanks to the brilliant customer support and me being lazy.

However, as this was a new authority website, I thought, I should at least try a better hosting company, right?

So I ended up joining Siteground.

To be exact, I went with this plan:

The plan was fine for me, I always start small and then move up once my sites start to see traffic.

The speed was good, and I was happy.

That is until today (Jan, 2019).

I woke up today with a notice from Siteground that says this: 

Interestingly, I haven’t really received any email about the malicious codes and it was a sudden email.

Of course, when I tried to visit my website, the dream 2019 authority project, I saw that it is not live and there’s a big ‘suspended’ banner by Siteground.

Anyone would go mad, right?

So I immediately contacted Siteground to see what happened, how to fix this and stuff.

They had two suggestions for me:

  1. I could try their partner Sucuri, a malware cleanup service that costs $199 to fix this
  2. I could restore the backup of the site, for $99.

Both options seemed ridiculous to me.

When you are offering a hosting service that costs $40/first year and then approx $150/2nd year onward, I can at least expect to receive a free Backup service.

So I told them that.

They replied, the backup service is free, but restoring it costs money.

Weird.

So I decided.

I should move back to Namecheap (my X girlfriend).

I did that.

I purchased a regular Namecheap hosting package and moved my site there once again.

Sure, Namecheap is not the best when it comes to site speed or up time. They are average. But this average company has helped me sell countless affiliate websites from lower mid 5 to even higher 6 digit range and I absolutely, hate, hidden cost.

So yes, though, in my opinion, Siteground is better than Namecheap, I would still go with Namecheap.

The plan for this authority website I am building, hosting wise, is this: 

I will build it on Namecheap & will keep it here till my site reaches to about 10k visits/month. I will then move to a robust platform like WP Engine or Kinsta for example.

Till then, I don’t see any reason to stick to Siteground over Namecheap.

I will rest my case there.

Thank you & a very happy new year to all of you.

I will try to give you updates on what happens with this new site, but of course, I am not promising anything. Life is super busy with the local SEO side of things for us, here at Passive Journal.

I would really appreciate if you can leave a comment.

Thanks

The post Ditching Hosting Companies & Loving Them Back in 2019 (Authority Site Update 1) appeared first on Passive Journal.

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SEO is an ever-changing topic. It changes almost every year & whatever is right today, might turn out to be a mistake next month. Having said that, the points that I will mention in this have been around for a while and it is very less likely that these mistakes will turn out to be ‘good things to do’ anytime soon.

Being an internet marketer for over 7 years now, I have seen countless websites who have these mistakes. You don’t need to be a SEO guy to avoid them.

That’s the goal of this article (to make sure your next on-page SEO is on point).

Let’s talk about 5 simple, yet surprisingly common SEO mistakes that are harming your website.

Not Focusing On LSI Data

LSI stands for Latent semantic index. To simplify, it is nothing but the method of using a variety of different ‘similar keywords’ on your copy so that search engine can understand what the page is about.

If you are lucky enough not to be in the SEO community in 2010-12, here’s a little story time for you.

Google was not always smart.

It was dumb.

If I wanted to rank the keyword ‘cat food’ in 2010, I could write ‘cat food’ a 1000 times in a page and it would get ranked because Google thought the page was relevant to cat foods. Some saavy internet marketers used to insert their keyword 100 times and changing the color of their text to white (with a white background) so that it doesn’t affect user experience but pleases Google.

It worked.

People got ranked left and right.

However, things changed.

Google is now smarter than all of us and they use something called Rank Brain (Google’s Algorithm) to rank a page on search results.

One of the many criteria for that page to be ranked is having decent LSI presence.

Here’s how you do it.

Suppose, you have a website about ‘cat food’ & you want to rank for the same keyword.

Instead of filling your page writing ‘cat food’ a hundred time, use LSI data.

Visit LSIGraph & do a search (it is free).

You will get a list of similar keywords immediately. Here’s what mine looks like:

See how I got a list of keywords? Now simply add as many of them naturally as you can throughout your page and Google (and other search engines) will have a clear idea on what your page is about.

Remember, don’t stuff keywords. Use them naturally. 

Internal Linking

I get it. Off-page SEO is difficult. Nobody wants to link to you & you seem to get nowhere with backlink opportunities either. You don’t understand what is outreach, guest posting & all those ‘nerd talks’.

However, you can link to yourself, right?

That’s what internal linking is about & it is a very important part of your overall SEO structure.

There are two key benefits when it comes to internal linking 

  1. Having a solid site architecture
  2. Being able to pass link juice from one page to another

There are other benefits too such as you can move traffic from page to page, you can show up as an authority and more; however, we are talking about SEO here so I will stick to the SEO benefits.

Buying Cheap Links Off Forums/Markets

I see many make the same mistakes over and over again. They buy links off places like Fiverr, Warrior Forum, Black Hat World & god knows where else.

Where it seems an easy solution to do that, it is harming your site both in the short and long run.

Let me explain how.

To get the value of a link, you have to understand the concept of ‘link juice‘. Think of it as a glass of juice that Google provides to every website. The bigger authority the website is, the bigger is the size of that glass.

Each time, when the site gives a link to another site, some of the juice is being transferred to the new site and so on.

For all the sites that are on those forums & marketplaces, the glass is already empty due to providing so many links to other sites.

Pretty much everyone that asks for a link and pays a certain amount, they get a link and this makes the glass empty.

So when you pay and get a link from one of those marketplaces, you basically are not receiving any value. These links will hardly give you any rank improvements or authority.

There’s another risk too.

This is the risk of getting an unnatural link penalty.

You get one of these bad boys when you get links from non-relevant websites. This may also happen when you receive links from websites that are hosted in a bad neighborhood, have poor backlinks on themselves or have the habit of giving out links to other ‘poor websites’.

This is another risk when you buy links and that’s why, buying link is one of the biggest mistakes you can perform in 2018 and beyond.

Duplicate Content

Wait. I know what you are thinking!

“We don’t have duplicate content on our website”- Each page has different content, right? right?

Well, not really.

Duplicate content can be of many forms and sometimes, you don’t even see ’em coming.

For example, one very common issue is having different versions of a website live. For example, you might have these links published:

  • https://yoursite.com
  • http://yoursite.com
  • http://www.yoursite.com

If you have three or even 2 different versions of your website and if they are not redirected to one main one, you are in trouble. According to Google, they are all different URLs with same or similar content on every one of them.

That’s duplicate content, right?

Some more common duplicate content errors are: 

  • Having subdomains with similar content
  • Having mirror pages with same content
  • Not 301 redirecting pages when changing urls
Mobile Architecture

Once again, another very common SEO mistake that we see many making in recent days. When Google first announced that they are rolling mobile first indexing, webmasters started to freak out.

It was logical.

Not everyone had a mobile friendly website.

The problem is that your website might not be mobile friendly even if you think it is.

A mobile friendly website is not only about acing mobile friendliness in Google’s testing tool. It is a bit more than that.

When you say, you are a mobile friendly website, you have to make sure that your UX supports that claim.

Having big buttons, having small text, non-responsive images or pop ups might not be an indication of a good mobile website even if you are officially ‘mobile friendly’.

Google has said on countless occasions that they will not rank you if you are not mobile first and as per our analysis, we have seen it happening already.

From mid 2018, we have stopped even looking at our SERP rankings for desktop results as it automatically improves when the mobile version improves. However, we can’t say the opposite.

Focus on your mobile site. It will help you to rank better in SERPs. Period.

We will leave it here today.

What do you think is the biggest yet common SEO mistake? Let us know in the comments.

The post 5 Simple Yet Surprisingly Common SEO Mistakes That Can Harm Your Website appeared first on Passive Journal.

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Black Friday is almost there & you started to freak out.

You know that there will be a hike in traffic (& sales) no matter which business you are in.

Whether it is a mom and pop shop, a plumbing business or an affiliate site that earns via commission, everyone will see increase in revenue.

But wait…

You can actually increase the number of traffic & earnings that you generate throughout Black Friday.

This article is all about that.

Ready?

Read along!

How to Prepare For The Black Friday Madness as an Internet Marketer

Now, the guide will slightly vary based on what business you are in. If you are working as a marketer for an eCommerce business, your strategies will be slightly different than a SEO freelancer. Similarly, if you are an affiliate with commission earning websites, your approach is going to be different than a regular business.

However, the basics are the same.

People are in a buying mood. Let’s be present in front of them as much as we can so that they end up buying from us

How do we do that, though?

I have tested these strategies in my short career as a digital marketer & I have started to prepare for this year’s Black Friday too. Here’s what I am going to do:

Try to Rank For Black Friday Keywords

Let’s assume I run a business about bicycle. Here’s what 2017 data tells me:

Look at the search volume (1000/month).

What does this mean?

People obviously did not search this specific keyword throughout the last 12 months (I am using a chrome extension called Keywords Everywhere to see search volumes).

That simply means that the number was 12,000 searches and when the keyword tool divided it by 12 (to get a monthly data), we got 1000/month.

But in reality, all 12000 searches came in that same Black Friday November month.

What does this tell you?

Try to rank for Black Friday keywords. As many as you can. 

These keyword variations will help you:

  • Black Friday discount + your topic
  • Black Friday deals + your topic
  • Black Friday + your topic + deals

You get the idea.

Focus on SEO to rank for as many of these keywords as you can by the end of October. If you start early and if your website has got a decent Domain Authority, you shouldn’t need a lot of backlinks to end up in top 3.

The page that you are planning to rank on top should have all your awesome Black Friday deals and discounts listed there. To be more creative, you can put in a lead capturing tool on that page so that you can email all visitors when the time comes.

Messenger Subscriptions

You want a method to reach out to people when the time comes and messenger subscription can be a very interesting choice. Here’s what you need to do.

Create a JSON ad with the help of your favorite messenger bot (I use Manychat & Botletter; if you use Shopify, they have their own apps within the platform) to prepare your audience for the madness.

Here’s what we did for one of our clients:

The idea is simple. We keep on collecting data for the whole 1.5 months and when the time comes, we send them message within Facebook to notify about the offers.

We are spending $5/day for this ad and receiving about 40 subscribers. Kinda cool, right?

The Good Old Email Marketing

You already have a list (hopefully) and you will obviously send them the Black Friday email when the time comes, however, it doesn’t hurt us to collect new email leads either.

How do we do that?

Create a landing page with a countdown timer and a lead capture (I like Thrive Leads) plugin that notifies people on when your Black Friday discount goes live. Give option for people to sign up within that landing page and also keep the “social share” options open.

This way, you will start receiving email leads that you can go back to later when the time comes (and further).

How do you promote this landing page?

My favorite promotional strategies would be Facebook + Instagram ads. You might also try Adwords but Adwords will always convert better for live offers instead of a landing page.

Submit Your Offer In Directories

No matter which part of the world you live in, there are directories around you who will accept Black Friday deals. I live in Ireland and a quick search gives me this result:

See the submit ad options? Utilize them. These are free advertising opportunities that you should not miss out on.

Run a Competition

Everyone knows that a competition can be a game changer for your marketing. Competitions are great to collect leads, to collect customer data and for generic brand awareness. No, competitions will not help you get more sales immediately but it will have a ripple effect on your sales when the time comes.

How do you go about it?

Use platforms like Gleam or Kingsumo to prepare a digital competition for your potential traffic/audience. Take help from your existing audience to get the word out.

You can always run ads on your campaign to make it more successful but the first target should always be going viral on your own.

I am not going into the details of a competition and how to run one as both the tools have in depth discussion in their websites.

Competitions are specially great if you want to achieve these results:

  • More followers on your social media
  • More email leads
  • Brand awareness
Prepare Early

You should be ready for Black Friday from the beginning of November. The data collection process should start within October & the plans should be scheduled by early November.

You can only kill this by preparing early and preparing for every channel. There will be some mistakes here and there, don’t worry about those.

Good Offer Is Very Important

Nobody will convert when the time comes if your offer is not good enough. If you are running a shop that doesn’t have a lot of products or if you are not in a position to offer massive discounts, try to go with digital products.

Example?

You own a cat toy brand and you can’t discount price after a point. However, you can always add a cat health & wellness related eBook with every purchase to increase your sales on Black Friday.

Think outside the box and you will be fine in this journey.

The post Black Friday For Marketers: How to Cash In & Prepare Yourself For The Madness appeared first on Passive Journal.

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You might have noticed already that I am doing regular blog posts on Medium about a new site that I am creating. The plan is to build a fresh site and rank it well enough to make at least $500/month in next 6-8 months and I am blogging the whole journey on Medium.

In case if you are not following the journey there, I just finished publishing and scheduling around 25000 words worth of articles on that new site and started thinking about backlinks.

When it comes to backlink, I can assure you that I have done it all. White, black, grey, red, pink…and all the hats that you can think of, I have worn them in my life.

Some worked, most didn’t.

Like any other internet marketer, I also know that backlink costs a lot of pain, sometime money and hassle for us.

Now that I am planning to build my first 100 backlinks for this new site, I started to wonder, what should be the game plan.

That’s why I decided to write this piece today.

The goal is to give you a clear idea on how to get your first 100 backlinks and I am pretty confident that if you have 100 solid backlinks, you will start earning (at least something) from your site.

I will be assuming that you are a SEO expert or you at least know the ins and outs of SEO.

The Social Ones

The easiest backlinks that you get are from your social profiles. I am not taking about social signals here (they help too) but I am talking about the profile backlinks that you generate from each of your social media account. I am sure you know but let me briefly explain:

These are your must have social links:

Facebook Page: Don’t stop at creating a Facebook page alone. Make sure that your URL is there in the about us page. Also, try to always publish links on Facebook whenever you are done posting something on your site. That helps you to get additional links.

Twitter Bio: You have the option to put a link on your Twitter bio and that’s exactly what you should do. It should redirect to the homepage of your website and boom! You got another solid backlink.

Instagram Bio: Similar to Twitter, you also get an Instagram bio link from them. Remember, this is the only clickable link you get from Instagram (unless you go for paid ads) so do not waste this opportunity.

Google+: Do people who are not internet marketers still use Google Plus? I don’t think so. Internet marketers are the only ones who use Google+ and there’s a reason behind that. As this is Google’s own product, you get a free backlink from the info page and I have also seen positive movements when you are actively posting links on G+ every now and then.

YouTube About Section: When you build an YouTube channel, you get an option to add a link to your website from channel. Make sure that you are utilising that option.

Alright, you get the idea. There’s Vimeo, Reddit, Snapchat and a ton of other platforms that you can get similar links from. As these are all regular legit links, you got nothing to worry about on a Google algorithm level.

I am sure if you are serious and if done right, you can easily get 20 backlinks from these social profiles.

Reach Out to Friends

This may sound like crazy but if you are an internet marketer, I am pretty certain that you have other friends who also build sites. How about networking with them and getting a backlink? I know if I ask 10 of my friends for a backlink (and they get a decent quality content in return or a beer), most of them will say yes. It doesn’t harm one’s website in any ways.

Once again, I have tested this myself and it works every time.

There’s a catch though!

You don’t want to get backlinks from a friend who also has a website on the same niche. That will never happen. That’s where the concept of cross-matching comes into play.

What is Cross Matching Backlinks

Suppose, you have a dog website and your friend has a travel website. An article titled “How to Travel with your Dog” can be relevant to both websites, right?

That’s where the cross matching backlink comes into play. This can go beyond regular niches:

Cooking: 10 Recipes That both you and your dog will love

Hobby: Is Dog Petting the Best Hobby in World? Our Analysis

Hiking: Can I Take My Dog To Hike? Explained

You get the idea….

It is a bit hectic but if done right, you can easily manage to receive a decent number of backlinks and they all will be relevant and legit.

Forums

Disclaimer: They are not a great source of backlinks but they are easy and if you actually invest time, you can get a good number of visitors too from relevant forums.

  • Step 1: Find 20-30 forums that are exactly on your topic
  • Step 2: Create account, get involved in discussions (don’t spam)
  • Step 3: Put your link in the bio

This is just a drop in the ocean for you when it comes to forums as you can do a ton more than just getting a backlink from the profile. The profile links are not that powerful anyways for most links.

However, a forum is a place where people that have similar interests as your site hangs out and that’s a golden opportunity. You must engage into discussions and carefully place your links where relevant. Don’t  bomb people with link and try to be genuinely helpful and build relations.

You can always leverage on this relation later in the form of a website traffic or even a backlink in some case.

These are the initial strategies I will be using before getting into serious SEO like Skyscraper or guest posting.

And no, you don’t have to literally get 100 backlinks. That’s way too many. If you get 30 using the strategy of this article, you are good to go.

More on that later. Probably on Medium and I will also keep Passive Journal posted.

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